The noisiest and quietest urban areas in England are revealed in the Widex Noise Report, with the noisiest presenting a serious threat to our health.
Newcastle-upon Tyne comes top of the traffic noise table with an ear-splitting 80.4 decibels (dB) ? equivalent to a loud alarm clock constantly ringing in your ear – whilst tranquil Torquay was bottom with a relatively peaceful 60 dB ? the same as listening to a normal conversation. As decibels are a logarithmic index this makes Newcastle 100 times noisier than Torquay.
Traffic noise was measured because it is the one element we are all exposed to in today?s world. Transportation is the major noise polluter in the country and traffic noise is the largest element of it. The levels of traffic noise the report has uncovered are a threat to our health and wellbeing and should be seen as detrimental as air pollution. If loud enough, prolonged exposure to traffic noise could lead to irreversible hearing damage requiring a visit to a professional audiologist.
Though it was to be expected that some of our biggest cities appear in the top three (2nd ranked Birmingham 79.1dB, 3rd ranked London 78.5 dB) there was surprise at how noisy smaller towns such as Darlington and Gillingham are ranked well above larger metropolitan areas such as Manchester and Liverpool.